Thor: "You think me strange"?
Following Fuel’s work on Iron Man 2, we were once again invited by Marvel Studios to work with them on the big-screen adaptation of THOR.
When Thor is banished to Earth by his father Odin for reigniting an ancient war with the Frost Giants, he must traverse the bifrost – a burning rainbow bridge that in Norse mythology allowed the gods to move between the human world and the world of the gods. Fuel created the travelling shots inside the bifrost tunnel.
“Thor’s banishment is marked by a chaotic and dangerous fall through bifrost,” said Fuel’s VFX supervisor Paul Butterworth. “Director Kenneth Branagh and VFX supervisor Wes Sewell wanted to have a scientific basis to the look development, so it was an exciting challenge creatively to interpret what bifrost journeys might look like.”
Paul and Head of Design Brendan Savage gathered a lot of reference based on natural phenomena, such as the polar auroras and imagery from the Hubble telescope. An extensive design process ensued, with several iterations of concepts and testing done to achieve an organic look. CG Supervisor Roy Malhi spent many months programming a detailed fluid system to help the CG artists interpret the energy ribbons and nebula in the 3D space. Digital doubles of Thor and his fellow Asgardians were created in order to animate them through the CG wormhole. The compositing team led by Tim Walker pieced all elements together, to ensure a smooth transition between these fast-paced and complex shots.
Fuel also designed and created the ‘sleep effects’ within Odin’s chamber on Asgard. Odin can sleep for up to 1000 years beneath a surface of energy that covers his bed.
“The sleep effect is in the form of a dome of energy over Odin that seals to the edges of his elaborate bed,” Paul explains. “We took a lot of reference from the corona of the sun and gave the sleep effect plenty of volume and space. Above the dome is a curtain of light rays that add to the sense of moving energy and harnessed power.” The look of the sleep effect was developed by CG Supervisor Pawel Olas using both fluid and particle simulations in shifting shades of gold and bronze, that reference the sun and compliment the majestic set.